Overly Optimistic: Analysts Predict Cellular Broadband To Surpass Copper Broadband By 2010

from the yeah,-right dept

There's just something about new wireless technologies that seems to make analysts over-estimate their impact. I still remember when people were talking about how GPRS was going to be a real DSL replacement. GPRS, of course, was an incredibly unreliable and ridiculously slow update on GSM wireless technology. Yet, before it was used, there were stories predicting how it would be a wireless revolution. And then people started using it. And pretty much the same thing has happened with each advance in cellular technology. I remember people saying that EDGE, EV-DO, and HSDPA (all network upgrades) were going to be good enough to replace DSL or cable modems. Yet, even though EV-DO and HSDPA get decent speeds (still much slower than your average DSL or cable), the real problem is how these networks simply don't have the capacity to be a real home broadband replacement. That's why all of the contracts have ridiculous limits, suggesting you can't do very much with them, and often placing exceptionally low usage caps on the services.

Of course, don't tell that to the analysts, who can't resist making the same exact prediction about cellular broadband replacing home broadband. The latest such report is focused on the UK, and says that cellular based broadband for computers will surpass DSL or cable as the primary connection for users by 2010. That's not very far in the future. Now, certainly, mobile technology has improved greatly over the years, and there's still plenty more to come. However, the only really consistency in the mobile world is that many analysts over-estimate both the speed with which these new networks are adopted and the quality of these mobile networks. It would certainly be great, if true, but consider me skeptical.
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Filed Under: broadband, predictions, uk, wireless


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  1. identicon
    freak3dot, 20 Jun 2008 @ 8:29am

    This hasn't happened yet?

    I might tend to agree with the analysts here even though they have been wrong in the past.

    I currently use T-Mobile GPRS to access the internet at home. I used some phone codes to crank it up to class 10 and I have a phone tethered to my computer with a USB cable. It is faster than dial-up but the main reason I am using it is cost. It costs me only $20 a month to add VPN internet add-on to my existing T-Mobile phone plan. Of course since my family plan is only for two phones they also hit me with $10 a month for the third phone.

    It really only seems slow when downloading files over about 10 MB, trying to play MMORPGS, or actually trying to use it for VPN to work.

    I also use this connection since I refuse to sign up with the Cable Company and Big Old Expensive Phone Company.

    In light of that I have an aerial antenna for TV but who needs cable when you don't have time for TV because you are modding things or reading Techdirt? It would be ideal if we even get faster wireless internet and also reliable inexpensive IPTV.

    I keep trying to use lots of data and set off the alarms at T-mobile. I have even downloaded a couple of Linux distros over the connection. However, they have not charged me extra nor have they indicated that my heavy usage is a problem.

    I suppose another reason this hasn't taken off as the analysts expect is because it is pretty much unsupported by the mobile operators. I had to figure it all out by googling. It may even go beyond unsupported to where they just don't want you to know about it.

    freak3dot

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